What Is Anthropocentricism

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Explanations of color that involve anthropocentric kinds make the basic assumption that different objects which appear to be the same color to normal human observers in standard viewing conditions are the same color. C.L. Hardin, author of “Color Qualities and the Physical World,” takes issue with this view because he calls into question if such “normal” observers, under “standard” conditions even exist. Hardin argues that there is no such thing as a normal observer, pointing out that simply considering biological variation would make us hesitate to accept the assertion of the normal observer. (145) A particularly strong example Hardin uses is that of trichromatic observers (which we would typically think of as a “normal”observer), who have …show more content…
I suggest that their argument, unlike Bryne and Hilbert’s, does not necessarily need to make the assumption of colors as an anthropocentric kinds (even though they do make this assumption a number of times). The reason the assumption does not have to be implicit in their argument is because in the section “Subjectivism of Color” they allow for variation in the experience of color to rely, in part, on variation between observers. (71) This is the same biological variation that Hardin uses to dismantle the idea of a normal observer. In addition, J&P’s argument allows for there to be variation in the viewing conditions to account for changes in color perception, though their example still makes use of the “normal” observer. (72) Despite J&P’s appeals to anthropocentrism, their argument allows for variation in observer and viewing conditions, and thus it is not completely refuted by Hardin’s counterarguments. I would suggest that Hardin’s argument is successful in refuting the assumption of anthropocentric kinds, but it does not discredit the position that colors are physical properties, because simply pointing out the variation in observers’ perception and viewing conditions of color does not refute colors as physical properties. The jump from variation in perception of color to the rejection of color as a physical property seems unfounded, unless we consider the question Hardin thinks he is

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